Industrial Hemp industry coming soon
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Environmentally friendly locally grown industrial hemp could soon be used in everything from dog food to bio-fuel, with plans to introduce a new licensing scheme, Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald said today.
Minister Macdonald said a potentially lucrative industrial hemp industry was not far off, following changes which will be introduced by the Iemma Government.
“Industrial hemp fibre produced here in NSW could pave the way for the establishment of a new viable industry that creates and sells textiles, cloth and building products made from locally grown industrial hemp,” Mr Macdonald said.
“For example, it could be used as an additive to wool in soft textured durable yarns, for insulation, as an alternative to fibreglass, in paper products and textiles and also for load bearing masonry for building.
“Hemp seed oil can also be used as a base for skin care products and paints.
“It can also be used in dog food production and may have potential for use as a bio-fuel.
“There is growing support from the agricultural sector for the development of such a new industry. This is a direct result of the environmentally friendly nature of industrial hemp and a perceived interest for hemp products in the market.”
The scheme will be administered by the Minister and will operate within a strict legal framework.
“The NSW Government will amend existing criminal drug laws to ensure that existing drug law enforcement is not compromised - and this position is supported by NSW Police,” he said.
Minister Macdonald said industrial hemp is a cannabis plant species. However, it has low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content compared to other forms of cannabis plants and cannot be used as a drug.
“These measures will make it legal to cultivate industrial hemp with a licence, including for trial purposes,” he said.
“Those seeking to run trials for industrial hemp will no longer have to seek approval from the Department of Health, once these measures are in place.
”Irrigation trial yields from Yamba and the State’s Central West are now reporting 10 to 12 tonnes of dry stem per hectare.
“These yields are competitive with those reported in northern Europe and Tasmania.
“The environmental potential of industrial hemp is also very interesting.
“Not only does hemp require less chemical application than some conventional crops, it has the ability to ‘lock up’ carbon in the production phase, thereby making it an environmentally friendly crop.”
Minister Macdonald said the Government will consult with farming groups and industry during the development of the details of the licensing scheme.
Media contact: Jason Bartlett 0438 209 281